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Mountain IDEAL Standard for destinations achieves global council recognition

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council recently announced that the Mountain IDEAL Standard for destinations has achieved Global Sustainable Tourism Council-recognized status. The Mountain IDEAL (innovation, diversity, education, authenticity, leadership) destination standard has been developed to address sustainability in mountain environments that include winter and summer activities.

These challenges and opportunities include issues such as water and energy use related to snow-making and snow-melting systems, affordable housing for residents and seasonal employees, collaborating with public-land managers and the business community and embracing mountain cultural heritage. Sustainable Travel International, Walking Mountains Science Center and other partners have collaborated on the development of the Mountain IDEAL destination standard.

Achieving the Global Sustainable Tourism Council-recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by the council's technical experts and its accreditation panel and deemed equivalent to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets Global Sustainable Tourism Council requirements must administer the standard.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the programs is to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.

"(Global Sustainable Tourism Council) recognition of a standard means that the standard, Mountain IDEAL in this case, includes the four pillars of sustainability: management, social/community, cultural and environmental issues. The Mountain IDEAL standard requires mountain resort communities to work to improve in all those four areas," said Randy Durband, Global Sustainable Tourism Council CEO.

"The goal of Mountain IDEAL is to elevate collaborative sustainability performance and share best practices across mountain resort communities," said Kim Langmaid, Ph.D., Walking Mountains Science Center founder and vice president.

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In addition to the Mountain IDEAL destination standard, Walking Mountains' industry standard Actively Green is currently under review for recognition by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

To date, seven destination standards and 28 hotels and tour operators' standards have achieved Global Sustainable Tourism Council-recognized status. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council-recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the accreditation process, which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving an accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs.

For more information, visit http://www.gstcouncil.org.